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Quote of the Day: Taxpayer Privacy and IRS Abuse

At CFIF, the issue of improving taxpayer privacy and protection against persistent abuse by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) remains among our most important missions.  Among the abuses that we've chronicled is the case of convicted criminal Charles Littlejohn, who rejoined the IRS in 2017 with the specific purpose of illegally breaching and leaking the private tax returns of Donald Trump and other Americans to radical left-wing organizations like ProPublica.

In The Wall Street Journal this week, one of those victims speaks out on his own experience and the need for greater taxpayer protection against this recurring problem that should terrify all Americans of every political persuasion.  Ira Stoll, whose tax information was passed to ProPublica, even helpfully details how…[more]

May 29, 2024 • 11:28 AM

Liberty Update

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Will the Supreme Court Rein in Obama’s Lawlessness? Print
By Troy Senik
Thursday, January 16 2014
A case argued before the Supreme Court earlier this week presents the prospect that Obama may finally be brought to heel for his lawlessness.

History will not be kind to Barack Obama. Once the luster of his personality has receded into the past and his media disciples have all hung up their credentials, the only thing left will be his record. And it’s not pretty.

Even now, with three years left in his tenure, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that his will be a presidency remembered for its broken promises. The politician who broke on to the national scene pledging to heal the partisan divide between red states and blue states instead became an extraordinarily divisive figure who governed from the hard left.

The famous promise associated with his signature policy initiative—that Americans could keep their health insurance if they liked it—has turned into a national punch line.

Obama’s guarantee that there would be a “red line” in Syria that would force the United States to take action against Bashar al-Assad’s regime if chemical warfare was used proved to be nothing more than hollow braggadocio when Assad actually launched a nerve gas attack on his own people.

The president’s pledge to bring the terrorists who murdered Americans in Benghazi to justice? It has yielded nothing.

On no topic, however, has the reality of Obama’s tenure been as distant from his rhetoric as his approach to the Constitution. On the campaign trail in 2008, he regularly pledged to restore respect for the rule of law, implying that the Bush Administration had regarded the nation’s supreme legal document as something less than sacrosanct.

Obama also wasn’t above citing his history as a constitutional law professor to argue the point—this despite the fact that his tenure as a “lecturer” at the University of Chicago (he was never actually a professor) was characterized by courses in which he gave only the most superficial reading of the document; and despite the fact that he never produced any scholarship that would actually have earned him the designation of being a constitutional expert.

In office, however, Obama has demonstrated an attitude toward the Constitution that could generously be described as dismissive. More accurately, it has revealed an instinct for the kind of lawlessness one would expect of a tin-pot dictator.

When the president couldn’t get the DREAM Act—offering American citizenship to illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children—through Congress, he simply imposed it via executive order.

As Obamacare has fallen apart, he has selectively revised, suspended and altered parts of the law in whatever direction political necessity requires.

In both cases, he has clearly violated Article II, Section III of the Constitution, which instructs that the president “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” The constitutional role of the chief executive is to enforce the duly enacted laws passed by Congress. Under Obama, the law has essentially become whatever he says it is.

All is not hopeless, however. A case argued before the Supreme Court earlier this week presents the prospect that Obama may finally be brought to heel for his lawlessness.

At issue in the case is the legality of the recess appointments the president made to the National Labor Relations Board in 2012. As conventionally understood, the recess appointment power allows a president to appoint individuals to vacancies within his Administration without congressional approval if the legislative branch is out of session.

Over the years, presidents have expanded their interpretation of this power, often using it as an end-run around potentially contentious confirmation hearings. None of them, however, have ever done what Obama did: make the appointments despite the fact that Congress is still in session.

It’s a testament to this Administration’s lust for power that their primary justification for this action—that Congress was being intransigent in confirming Obama’s nominees—doesn’t even speak to the legality of the matter.

That they regard the operative concern as the president’s ability to work his will rather than ensuring the Constitution is enforced speaks volumes. Getting Obama what he wants is clearly a higher priority in the White House than enforcing the rule of law. We can only hope that the Supreme Court will now place a check upon that breathtaking ambition.

Mr. Obama, like the 42 men who preceded him in the presidency, swore an oath to defend the Constitution. The more time passes, the more it looks as if that will be the biggest broken promise of his presidency.

Notable Quote   
 
"Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger says Democrats have tipped their hand to their desire to unleash noncitizen voting by opposing his state's citizenship verification in court and he is urging elections chiefs in other states to fight such lawsuits.Georgia's citizenship verification system has prevented noncitizens from getting on state voter rolls, but the state had to defend it in court…[more]
 
 
— Natalia Mittelstadt, Just the News
 
Liberty Poll   

Which would be the most useful for voters: a televised presidential debate that only includes Trump and Biden or one that adds Kennedy?